Signs of Spring: Ramps, Mushrooms, Peepers and More
Welp, as of a few weeks ago, winter is officially over and we are full swing in spring. Warm days, cold nights and daily showers are upon our little mountain homestead. Mother nature is waking up with the growth of crocusus, dandelions and wood violets bringing forth beautiful colors of purple, blue, green and yellows to the still dominate brown landscape. But, it’s not just visually beautiful here – for any folks lucky enough to live in the country and doubly lucky enough to live near ponds, temporal pools or such, the spring peepers are gifting us their songs every evening just before and after sunset. My wife and daughters went for a walk around our property the other day and my 3 year old Bella saw her first tadpoles and some salamanders to boot. Below is a picture of one of the many temporal pools we have on our property; this this one of the smallest and least populated.
We are originally from West Virginia and one of the first wild foods that comes up in the spring are ramps (wild leeks) (followed closely by Morel mushrooms) and West Virginians go bonkers over them them. They are a seasonal delicacy and wildly revered by folks from all walks of life. There are a ton of ramp festivals throughout the state and literally hundreds of recipes for ramps. From the staple of ramps and potatoes, to sweet pies and desserts. Being the lover of ramps we are and not being able to find them anywhere in SW Virginia we brought down some last spring and transplanted in our woods and promptly forgot about them. Last week we got a call from my wife’s father from WV asking if our ramps had come up yet. He had already been out on his farm digging them up. Excited, we took a walk and found the first signs of our transplants taking hold!
You can check out some neat facts, recipes and news about ramps here:
Next on our wild foods harvest are Morel mushrooms. We couldn’t ask for better conditions for a productive Morel mushroom hunt. Cold nights, warm days and plenty of rain are ideal for growing good Morels. I can’t wait to get a bag full to hold us over until our Shittake logs start producing. We only have 3 logs right now, but enough to get some big mushrooms to add to spring salads and stews. Here is a picture of our logs that got a dusting of snow the night before. We hope to expand our mushroom growing capabilities once we get settled more.